Another Illinois native spreading brutality to Duluth

Man charged in downtown Duluth shooting
By Tom Olsen on Jan 24, 2017 at 4:57 p.m.
Darius Leelionza Handy

A 24-year-old suspect allegedly fired a point-blank shot into another man’s abdomen during a fight inside a downtown Duluth liquor store over the weekend.

Darius Leelionza Handy was charged Tuesday with felony second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon in the shooting at the Lake Superior Bottle Shop, 31 E. First St., on Saturday night.

Authorities said Handy was arrested just minutes after the shooting when a Duluth police sergeant saw him and another man fleeing from the store and into a vehicle. A handgun and ammunition were recovered, according to a criminal complaint.

Duluth police declined to release the 28-year-old victim’s identity, citing concerns for his safety. Spokesman Ron Tinsley said he remained at a Duluth hospital on Tuesday in stable condition.

A second suspect who was initially booked into the St. Louis County Jail was released without charges.

Handy, whose address is listed as Montgomery, Ill., was arraigned in State District Court in Duluth, where 6th Judicial District Judge Dale Harris granted Assistant St. Louis County Attorney Chris Pinkert’s request to set bail at $300,000.

According to the charges:

Sgt. Joe Miketin was patrolling in the area around 8:40 p.m. when he noticed an illegally parked car in front of the liquor store. Miketin reported seeing two males running from the business and frantically attempting to get into the car.

The sergeant noted that one of the men, later identified as Handy, was holding a sweatshirt that attempted to have something wrapped in it. The two men got in the car, with another man driving.

Miketin began following the car, reporting that the vehicle was “spinning its tires and accelerating quickly” through downtown. As he activated his emergency lights, dispatchers notified the officer of a reported shooting inside the bottle shop.

Officers detained all three men in the vehicle, and a subsequent search turned up a .380 caliber handgun, ammunition and the sweatshirt where Handy was seated.

Witnesses to the shooting reported that the victim, identified only by initials D.N., had been in the store making a purchase when Handy and the other man entered. Handy and the victim briefly exited the store before re-entering and engaging in a fight.

As they were fighting by the front door, witnesses reported hearing a gunshot and saw Handy run outside. D.N. made his way to the front counter, indicating that he had been shot, and 911 was called, the witnesses said.

Officers determined that D.N. had been shot once in the abdomen and he was taken to the hospital. A spent .380 caliber shell casing was found at the scene.

Handy has several prior convictions in Minnesota over the past five years, including endangering safety by discharge of a firearm and first-degree criminal damage to property.

His next court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 15.

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